Run time: 90 mins
Approx advert and trailer run time: 25 mins
Film run time: 1h 30m
Joaquin Phoenix bares his soul in Lynne Ramsay’s noir-tinged New York thriller.
The source is Jonathan Ames’s novella about an ex-marine and ex-FBI agent who is radicalised by the brutality he has witnessed into the vigilante work of rescuing young girls from the sex trade. Ramsay’s film simmers a plot-driven narrative down to become the essence of a human soul under a particular type of strain.
He is one of God’s lonely men. Cinematic relatives include Dirty Harry and Travis Bickle. Like the latter, he patrols a nighttime New York populated by those likely to cause harm. Phoenix’s piercing eyes and cauliflower nose identify the actor within a body otherwise engulfed by his role.
It all adds up to an overwhelming experience, a slice of pure cinema from a director who refuses to dance to the beat of anyone’s drum but her own. From the disorienting opening to the enigmatic finale, Lynne Ramsay is always really here, her commanding vision shining through every frame.